Performance-Enhancing Principles for your I.T. Recruiting Practice, Vol. 1 – Social Media By Eve Adams, Senior Talent Acquisition Expert, Halock Security Labs If you hadn’t noticed, competition for the technical talent your organization needs is fierce, relentless and non-stop. Corporate hiring managers, recruiting agencies, and consulting firms (like mine!) pull no punches in the fight to attract industry experts with the most desirable skills, and the best never stay on the market for long. This means that to even compete, you must commit to keeping your recruiting processes lean, mean and creative. Make a 2013 resolution to save time and resources by engaging passive candidates, leveraging social media, and building a network so that no candidate contact is ever wasted. In this issue of the Halock WorkForce newsletter, we’ll discuss shifting your sourcing efforts from old-news job boards to the new normal: social networks. The best candidates are passive, so social media engagement is mandatory. This means you cannot rely on job boards and must incorporate social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as community involvement, into your sourcing strategy. While some cold-contacting is inevitable, a robust social and community networking presence will return warm leads to qualified talent. It’s also a great way to get a sense of candidates’ soft skills and community involvement! You might at first think of LinkedIn as the go-to social network for recruitment, and it can be a powerful tool to contact passive candidates – especially its paid premium versions. But the truly disruptive social network for recruiting is free, fun and easy to use, and already heavily trafficked by the candidates you want. It’s Twitter, and if you’re not actively using it in your recruiting practices, you’re missing out. Far from just posting links to job ads, use it to discuss industry news and trends, promote your company’s brand, and learn about the skills and personalities in your candidate pool. I’ve made several hires using nothing but Twitter for initial contact, and asked my network to share stories of using it in their own job or candidate search. Within five minutes I had dozens of responses. Here are a few:
“…the last 4 jobs I’ve had, including the new one I just landed, was due to my advertising on Twitter that I was looking for work…” @diami03, information security professional
“My new management reached out to me via Twitter after having spent time validating my experience, background, etc. via Twitter and my blog (overhack.wordpress.com). That helped them make sure that I was a good fit both in terms of skillset, research interests, and personality, because they weren't relying on somebody's reactions in an interview environment. They could see a history, in other words.” – Kyle Maxwell, Network Security Researcher, major telecommunications company “Hiring and getting hired due to Twitter/blogs. etc. is awesome. From the hiring perspective, you have a much better perspective on what the person is really like and what they are likely to be like to work with. Twitter reflects the fact that people seem to be much more genuine than they are in interviews.” – David Mortman, Chief Security Architect, enStratus
Twitter’s #1 status with candidates doesn’t mean you should dismiss LinkedIn, only that it needs to be one of several weapons in your social networking arsenal. Paid versions such as Talent Search allow a certain
number of InMail messages per month, which makes LinkedIn an affordable way to build a targeted candidate pool. It provides more information on professional backgrounds than Twitter, but less on personalities, and your candidate contact won’t move as fast. So use both. Facebook is not yet well-optimized for posting and promoting open jobs, but it’s ideal for gathering information about your candidates. It’s now common practice to check out interviewees’ social media presence to assess cultural fit – and potential warning signs. That said, it never hurts to use other platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn to “push” (post automatically, on a repeating schedule, if you prefer) the job ads you’re posting anyway to Facebook. Don’t forget the oldest social networking tool in the book, and still one of the most powerful: face-to-face contact. Recruiters should get involved in the communities where they seek talent through attendance at meetups, industry conferences, or just an old-fashioned cup of coffee with local thought leaders. Don’t go and recruit aggressively – technical talent gets this all the time and detests it. Go to make contacts, gather intelligence, and learn. Your recruiters are only as good as their understanding of what their candidates do and what motivates them (a topic we’ll cover in our next newsletter.) Social media recruiting is free, fast and simple to implement, and the results prove that it’s not the flash-in-thepan, overblown trend many industry skeptics claimed. You can run a recruiting office without it…but while you do that, I’ll be tweeting at your candidates.